ORCHESTRA Music by John Jeffreys
John Jeffreys (1927-2010)
Though John Jeffreys was born on the Isle of Thanet in 1927, his parents were Welsh and his earliest influences were the songs his mother sang to him and the poetry in his father's library. After studying at Caterham School and Exeter and service in the RAF, he enrolled at Trinity College of Music in London to study musical philosophy and counterpoint. He wrote an immense amount of music during the 1950s and 1960s including a symphony, three violin concertos and a cello concerto and about two hundred songs. However, the avant-garde-obsessed British musical establishment of the time would not give encouragement to a composer with lyrical gifts and a penetrating insight into English poetry, and John destroyed a great deal of his own writing. Fortunately, some was preserved by accident or on tape and has since been resurrected and recorded, including a fine violin concerto written for his wife, Pauline. Pauline's promising musical career was cut short when at a young age, she contracted multiple sclerosis. Confined to bed for her last 35 years, she was looked after by John and numerous carers, in their cottage in Suffolk. Pauline died at the end of August 2010 and John followed just three days later. John's orchestral music is unmistakably English, often pastoral, sometimes with darker moods - if you are not familiar with it, listen! Some have described him as one of the foremost writers of English Song in the twentieth century.